Dr. Matt McCormick, Professor of Philosophy at California State University, has an excellent entry on his blog about this subject. He writes:
Suppose the almighty creator of the universe with the power to control every aspect of reality had sought to achieve a state where all or most normal, thoughtful adult human beings could reflect on the evidence available to them and come to believe that he exists. Could such a being create a state of affairs where being with our powers of reasoning could consult the evidence and conclude that God is real? It would seem that bringing about such a state of affairs would be a trivial matter for such a being. I am not all powerful, all knowing, or all good, yet I can make my existence perfectly obvious to humans.
Is the current state of affairs that most human beings are in one where the existence of such a being is obvious or reasonable? There are a great many people who believe, certainly. But there are a great many who do not. There are billions of Buddhists, for example, who do not believe in the existence of an all powerful creator God. Even those people who believe are doubtful about God’s existence being obvious or clearly indicated by reason. When polled, a great many of them respond that belief in God can only come through faith. And certainly in human history we can find billions more people for whom the existence of such a being was not obvious or reasonable.
What is the evidential situation we are in regarding the Christian God? Our central piece of evidence is a book that is made up of a collection of writings by a wide range of authors. The contents of this book have been culled from a much large body of religious writings over the course of centuries that make a wide range of inconsistent claims about the existence, nature, and history of this God and his actions. Humans have done that culling to arrive at a book that is alleged to be the one, true perfect source of inerrant information about this being.
If the all powerful, all knowing creator of the universe had sought to make his existence known and reasonable through that book or its stories, could he have done a better job? Could the miracles of Jesus have been bigger? Could they have been attested to by more sources? By more reliable witnesses? Could they have been reported by the original eye-witnesses instead of the hearsay reports we have? Could Jesus’ divinity have been less ambiguous? Could the same stories about a 1st century religious leader have arisen even though he was not a supernatural being? Could a more careful and systematic investigation into the stories about Jesus’ supernatural powers have been pursued? Were there people who were contemporaries of Jesus who were not convinced? Could the evidence for them have been better? Could the history of the documents that report the stories about God and Jesus have been less muddled by controversy, fragmentation, and ambiguity?
Most people would agree that the answers to all of these questions are “yes.” We can readily imagine a hundred ways in which the case for God on the basis of the Bible could have been better. It seems quite clear that if God had really intended humanity to believe on the basis of the Bible, he could have done a better job.
So, if there is a God, he/she/it created man with a large brain. Obviously, that God intended for man to use that brain. If during the course of using our minds, we find the evidence for the Bible and Evangelical Christianity to be less than convincing, can that God (assuming he/she/it is just and fair)condemn us? I hardly think so.